Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

For the past three weeks, I have rekindled my love affair with bread baking and plan on keeping this going until I get bored with it. Fingers crossed that won’t be any time soon, because homemade bread is so clean… no added sugars and gross preservatives.  

We were out of bread last weekend and needed some to make lunch sandwiches for our hiking trip. I just wanted simple bread that would be perfect with deli meat and veggies, or almond butter and jam. This Basic Whole-Wheat Bread from my Paul Hollywood book was exactly what I was looking for… healthy, delicious, and filling. Another plus to this bread is it is so easy to make and doesn’t need a million hours to knead, rise, punch, knead, rise again, shape, rest, then finally bake. Because it only requires one rising, some shaping, and voila, ready to go in the oven!

Basic Whole-Wheat Bread (Makes 1 loaf)
Adapted from 100 Great Breads, Paul Hollywood

2/3 cup white bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting
scant 2 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
1 ½ tsp salt
7 tsp yeast
½ stick butter, softened
1 ½ cups water, warm (turn the hot water on until it feels too hot on your arm)  

In a large mixing bowl, put the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and yeast together. Mix well using a whisk.
Add the softened butter into the dry mixture. Using a hand mixer, mix on medium speed, until the butter has spread out evenly in the flour mixture and the texture becomes sandy and silky.

Slowly pour the water into the bowl and using a thin spatula, mix until all the flour has incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. The dough will become harder to mix.

Tip the bowl and slowly roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it is smooth and pliable. Coat the dough with a tad of butter and gently move it back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with a tad of butter. Move the dough onto the greased baking sheet and shape the dough into a rectangular loaf with rounded edges or a boule. Cut a cross shape down the middle on the top of the loaf with a knife. Dust the top of the loaf for a rustic look. Bake for 30 minutes.

Great for deli sandwiches or as toast. Enjoy!


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